Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias Japonicus)

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Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias Japonicus)
Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias Japonicus)

Video: Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias Japonicus)

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Video: BIGGEST Salamander in Japan! 2023, January
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The Japanese giant salamander is the largest salamander in the world. She has great physical strength, and her bites are dangerous. The appearance of the species is very similar to the Chinese salamander. Inhabits mountain rivers and streams with cold running water at altitudes from 300 to 1000 m above sea level. m. Inhabits the western part of the island. Hondo north to Gifu Prefecture. Spends most of the time in burrows and underwater niches under the banks overhanging the water or in deep pits.

Etymology

In English - Japanese giant salamander, in German - Japanische Riesensalamander, in Ukrainian - Yaponska veletenska salamander.

Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians
Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians

Appearance

In appearance, the Chpon gigantic salamander is very similar to the Chinese salamander and is considered by some experts as a subspecies of the latter. It is impossible to catch it with your bare hands; if you catch it, you cannot hold it. Her entire torso is covered with a layer of mucus, and she slips out easily. In addition, large salamanders have great physical strength, and their bites are dangerous: the mouth of the animal is armed with many small and sharp teeth, with the help of which the salamander holds the prey, intercepts it and swallows it entirely.

Its huge head and body are, as it were, flattened from above, the long tail is compressed from the sides, the legs are short and thick, the skin of the body is warty, and on the sides it is folded, which makes its contours vague. The eyes are like beads, have no eyelids and are set wide apart, and there is almost no bulge. The nostrils at the end of the muzzle are very close together.

Color

The coloration of the upper part of the body of a gigantic salamander is dark brown with dark gray streaks and very dark shapeless spots. The belly is gray with dark blurry spots and small specks. All this very well disguises the salamander among a variety of bottom objects, stones and aquatic vegetation.

The size

Body length with tail is 145-160 cm.

Weight

These amphibians weigh up to 28-30 kg. This is a whole pig!

Molting

The Japanese giant salamander molts 4-5 times a year. The cuticle that lags behind during molting slides from the entire body in shreds, flakes and is partially eaten by molting animals. During the molt, which lasts several days, the salamander makes frequent movements with its body, as if vibrating with it. This achieves the flushing of the lagging areas of the discarded cuticle from the body surface.

Distribution / area

The Japanese giant salamander inhabits the western part of the island. Hondo north to Gifu Prefecture. It is also known from a small about. Kyushu (Japan). Inhabits mountain rivers with clean cold water at altitudes from 300 to 1000 m. at. m.

Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians
Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians

Habitat

Giant salamanders live in mountain rivers and streams with cold running water.

Nutrition

It feeds on fish, amphibians and other small animals.

Behavior

They spend most of their time in burrows and underwater niches under the banks overhanging the water or in deep holes among stones, sunken tree trunks, stumps and snags. This gigantic salamander is called not by chance. The activity of the giant salamander is twilight and nocturnal. Salamanders rarely come out of the water to the shores of reservoirs, usually after spills caused by heavy rains.

Eating behavior

The salamander either looks for its prey, slowly moving along the bottom of the reservoir, or stalking, lying on the bottom and not showing any movements. But as soon as a fish, frog, insect or crayfish get close, a sharp, lightning-fast movement of the head follows - and the prey is in the teeth.

Reproduction

During breeding, salamanders keep in pairs. The male not only protects the nest, but also helps better aeration. With his strong tail, he periodically moves the water, does not allow it to stagnate: the embryos need oxygen.

Season / period of breeding

In August-September, the female lays several hundred small eggs with a diameter of 6-7 mm. The clutch is usually placed in a coastal burrow at a depth of 1-3 m. The male protects the eggs, which creates a stream of water with his tail for better aeration of the clutch.

Incubation of eggs

Lasts 60-80 days depending on the water temperature. This duration of development in comparison with the development of eggs of many other amphibians (2-8 days) is explained by the fact that the eggs of giant salamanders develop at a temperature of + 12-15 ° C. In warm water, salamanders do not survive: up to + 18 ° C they somehow endure, and above they begin to suffocate.

Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians
Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), photo photograph tailed amphibians

Development

The larvae that emerge from the eggs turn into adult forms after about 11-12 months. The length of the larvae emerging from the eggs is about 30 mm. Salamanders grow quickly, and they have a good appetite.

Economic value / benefit to humans

In Japan, a gigantic salamander, to put it simply … they ate it, in China … they eat it up, and if the persecution of gourmets does not stop, then in the very near future the gigantic salamander - the largest amphibian animal of our time - will have to be bitterly blacklisted animals that have disappeared forever from the face of the Earth.

In the old days, hunting salamanders was one of the types of sports hunting, but now this hunting has become illegal, has turned into ordinary poaching for the pleasure of trying a delicacy.

Number / protection status

The species is currently under strict protection. Trapping and export are extremely limited. In Japan, it is successfully bred on farms.

The giant salamander is listed in the International Red Book as an endangered animal. But here's the trouble. This salamander has very tasty meat, which is why people pursue it.

The Japanese tried to breed gigantic salamanders in artificial conditions, and their many years of attempts were crowned with success. Imitating the natural habitat of these animals has proven difficult. Special nurseries with deep flow channels were created. The eggs laid by the salamanders were removed and placed in an incubator, where their development took place.

Sources:

1. I. S. Darevsky N. L. Orlov. Rare and endangered animals: amphibians and reptiles. Moscow, 1988

2. Sosnovskiy IP About rare animals of the world: Book. for students / Art. V.V. Trofimov. - 2nd ed., Complete. - M.: Education, 1987.-192 p.: ill.

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